September 2, 2008

Katrina pet 'lessons learned worked'

By pawlitico

We're relieved to hear that Gustav evacuation policy has been much more "pet-owner friendly" and pet friendly than in past disasters.

Did Hurricane Katrina and other disasters teach authorities to care for animal friends during emergencies?

"Yes, in fact, lessons learned worked," said Scotlund Haisley, Senior Director of Emergency Services for the Humane Society of the United States.

Mr. Haisley was interviewed in "Animal Evacuations" today by FOX & friends. He said there were two "massive" animal evacuations over 4 days: The evacuation of owned animals to temporary "co-located" shelters and the evacuation of existing shelter animals to other animal shelters.

At the New Orleans Evacuation Center, puppies like our buddy here were cooled down with water while waiting to be loaded on refrigerated trucks headed fur safety.

This little guy was trying to keep cool.

©The HSUS/Kathy Milani

Pets were able to get on animal transport vehicles while their humans boarded buses so they could evacuate together and stay together, or right near each other -- this is co-located sheltering.

During Katrina, many humans didn't leave their homes because they didn't want to leave their pets behind. But this time, the co-location policy made the difference.

"There's no doubt that this step saved both human and animal lives, because many lives were taken during Katrina, because they were unwilling to evacuate without their animals, and as you know, they were told they had to."

The HSUS helped evacuate hundreds of Louisiana shelter animals, and is also assisting in the operation of a huge evacuation shelter in Shreveport, Louisiana. Pet owner/guardians are staying at the human shelter across the road and are able to provide care for their own pets.

See HSUS Emergency Services for more information.

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